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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 24, 2016 6:00pm-8:01pm EST

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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that at 1:45 p.m. tomorrow, thursday, february 25, the senate proceed to consideration of s. res. 374, which is at the desk, and ask that it be held and that the senate then vote on the resolution and that if the resolution is agreed to, the preamble be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon
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the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate be permitted to submit tributes to justice scalia for the record until march 10, 2016, and that all tributes be printed as a senate document. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i now ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. thursday, february 25. following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, following leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: so if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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nominate candidates for the supreme court i'm going to do my job. we are going to go through a process as we have done in two previous supreme court vacancies. as impeccable legal credentials and will bring the kind of ability, compassion, and objectivity only reasoning to the court. the highest court in the land demands. once once i made a nomination.
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all the members of the senate will make a decision about how they fulfill the constitutional responsibilities. i recognize the politics are for them because the easy thing to do is to given to the most extreme voices within our party and stand pat and do nothing. that is not our job. ourour job is to fulfill our constitutional duties. and so i hope and expectation is that once there is no actual nominee this is no longer abstraction to my go to five those on the judiciary committee recognize the show the courtesy of meeting. men and free to vote would have a this person is
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qualified or not. well within the mainstream like a jurist. >> it will be very difficult to explain how the senate should stand in the way simply for political reasons. see what happens. i don't expect meant for, say that is the case today. but let's see how the public response to the nominee. the one thing that i think is important to dispel as any notion that somehow this
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is some well-established tradition are some constitutional principle that a president his last year of office cannot fill a supreme court vacancy. reading the text of the constitution, focusing on the intent of the constitution, none of the founding fathers, when it comes to the present carrying out his duties should do for three years and then on the last year stop doing it. there is no argument that the pres. should not do this because he is a lame-duck. the truth of the matter is traditionally the term lame-duck 1st two that two or three months after an election is taking place in
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which a new president is about to be sworn in. i've got a year ago. i don't think they would approve of me abdicating on my duties as commander-in-chief and stop doing all the other work. this is part of my job. they have been arguments that for 80 years this is been the tradition. that is not the case. after being nominated by ronald reagan and while raise last year they say that's different. he had been nominated in 1987, even if he was confirmed. the notion that there is some two-month period command that is not a credible argument.
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one of their arguments are they making? they suggested that have been a couple times were democrat said it would be wise not to nominate someone first of all passenger say stuff all the time. these were comments that were made there is no actual nomination. it has no application to the actual situation we have right now. i'm trying to think of any other they are grasping as to why they would not carry out there duties. i can't really think of one. i recognize that this is an important issue for their constituencies.
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and it is particularly sensitive because justice skill is seed is now vacant and a whole host of decisions on the supreme court would turn on this night. that is how our democracy is supposed to work. the last.i will make sure we have already seen a breakdown of the judicial appointment process, worse and worse each and every year. ..
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>> and appointment to the supreme court as well as the federal bench suddenly become a complete extinction of our polarized politics. and at that point, not only are you going to see more and more vacancies in the court systems break down, but the credibility of the court itself begins to diminish because it is viewed simply as an extension of our
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politics. this is a republican judge or this is a democratic judge, as opposed to this is a supreme court justice who supposed to be standing about the day-to-day politics that take place. so i understand the posture they are taking right now. i get the politics of it. i'm sure they are under enormous pressure from their base and their constituencies around this issue. i've talked to many of them and i've told them, i'm sympathetic. and by the way, there's not a lot of bigger when they defend the position they are taking that they wouldn't even meet for example, with a supreme court nominee. they are pretty sheepish about it when they make those comments. so we'll see how this plays itself out but i'm going to do much other i'm going to nominate somebody to let the american people decide as to whether or not th that person is qualified. if they are qualified the american people decide whether there's enough time for the u.s. senate to hold hearings and have
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a vote. it's not as if from what i see the senate calendar is so full that we don't have time to get this done. >> the "washington post" reports brian sandoval who they described as the centrist republican governor of nevada is being vetted by the white house for a possible nomination to the supreme court. that's according to two people familiar with the process. governor sandoval is increasingly viewed by some democrats as perhaps the only nominee president obama could select who would be able to break a republican blockade in the senate. here's what some senators said today about nominate a supreme court justice started with senate minority leader harry reid. >> yesterday a senior senator from iowa, along with other republicans on the senate judicial committee, announced they will not be holding a hearing to present obama's eventual nominee to the supreme
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court. they will not give the eventual nominee the common courtesy of even unheeding, no hearings, no meeting. and this is all done even before the president has sent it to us. this historically is unbelievable and historically unprecedented. they don't know who the nominee will be. however, they decide they will not give the confirmation, won't give the confirmation process even a start. why? because the person was nominated by president obama. remember, republican leaders said many years ago the number one goal he had was to make sure president obama was not reelected. that failed miserably. the president won by 5 million votes, everything has been done by the republican folks in the senate to embarrass, obstruct,
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filibuster come anything that can be done to focus attention on president obama. none of which has helped the country. but senator grassley has surrendered every piece -- pretense of independence your into a narrow partisan issue of obstruction and gridlock. so partisan effect is a senior senator from iowa will not respond to a personal invitation from the president inviting to white house to discuss the vacancy. think about that. the president of the united states calls a very senior senator, and hasn't even responded to the president. this is a sad day for one of the proudest committees in the united states senate. so i ask, is this how he wants his committee work remembered as
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a chairman who refused his duty and instead allow the republican leader to ride roughshod over the storied history? strength of committee chairmen in the united states senate have been legendary. know of majority-minority leader could tell a chair what to do with his committee. that was off-balance but it doesn't appear so now. abdicating his responsibility, the senate has always held republicans, has always upheld republicans. never in history of the country has a senate super refused to do anything, even meet with a person who's been nominated. so republicans are setting a dangerous precedent for future
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nominations. not only for the supreme court but for the senate itself as an institution. yesterday the senate reported that the amount of committee hearings for supreme court nominee is unprecedented. if that's unprecedented how but the fact he won't even meet with the person was nominated? if that is unprecedented how about the fact that a member of the united states and would even go to the white house to talk to the president about something -- senior senator from i will be the first judiciary committee chairman ever produced old hearing on a supreme court nominee. that's quite an achievement, but none that should make them proud. this obstruction is what the american people want. that's not what the people of iowa want. last week no fewer than six iowa newspapers issued scathing
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editorials calling on senator grassley to change course and give the nominate the respect that he or she deserved. for example, the mason city globe gazette wrote and i quote, we were especially disappointed to see i was own chuck grassley join the partisan crowd calling for delay. there's a constitutional or historical precedent for such a flagrant outrages shameful and bald-faced partisanship, closed quote. the gazette in cedar rapids, iowa, wrote of his actions on a quote, it's hard to conclude this anything but political maneuvering that to meet partisan objectives at the expense of the supreme court. our constitutional process and the common good, closed quote. the "des moines register" read quote, senator grassley supreme court stance is all about politics. mr. president, is that the
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legacy that chairman once while and our nation? i certainly hope not because he won't be remembered as the least productive judiciary chairman in history? at his companies who will be removed as most abstract of chairman in history. perhaps instead of sitting with the vice president said about a quarter of a century, senator grassley should take note of what senator biden did 25 years ago, or generally come as a member and chairman of that committee. in 1992 to judiciary committee others leadership, senator biden's leadership confirmed 64 circuit and district court nominations. all of the tradition nominations made from the president of the opposite party, president george h. w. bush. in 2015, senator grassley's first year as chairman of the judiciary committee affirmed 11 judicial nominations. that was the jews judicial nominations confirmed ever --
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the fewest judicial nominations confirmed ever. ever might be a little much but sort in the last 50 or 75 years. that's quite a comparison. biden 64, grassley 11. but it even gets worse than that for my friend from iowa. in the entire 102nd congress when joe biden, joe biden as chair, senate confirmed 120 nominees, 120 judicial nominations under biden, 11 under chairman grassley. the difference is stunning. i encourage my friend from iowa to focus on chairman to biden's actions and results rather than cherry-picking remarks. only five years ago. the judiciary committee of the joe biden honored his constitutional obligation by visiting with the nominees in a timely fashion. even though they were a
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republican president's nominees. i can't say the same committee today. no one can. as chairman joe biden did his constitutional duty, process nominations for republican presidents to the supreme court. justice kennedy, that was in the last year of reagan, the vote occurred in the last year of president reagan's presidency. justice souter and thomas, let's focus on thomas just a little bit. thomas got 52 votes. he squeaked through the senate. anyone senator could've forced a cloture vote. anyone democratic could've done that. we didn't do that. it was never done until the republicans showed up in the last few years. now, justice bork, very controversial person, received all along hearing before the committee and a long debate here
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in the senate. he was voted down. that's how this place is supposed to work. other nominees have been voted down but they were not meeting with conflict avoidance and we will not hear -- we will not hold a hearing on bork. we did not say we will take the committee's actions and just leave it at that. listen to this. bork was turned down by an overwhelming margin but in spite of that we brought it to the senate floor and there was a debate and he won by two votes. no filibuster. he was defeated in the committee. we didn't look for an excuse. that is what is used to be done. it's now under republican leadership, they will not be with the nominate even they don't know who will be. they will not hold a hearing and one, the chairman of the committee will not even go to the white house and visit with the president.
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as chairman, senator biden did his constitutional duty and processed nominations. even though they were republican nominations. so we don't have to go back to 1988 to approve the chairman singh at this. the emergency needs there are not enough judges, too many cases were judged to do the work. a vacant judgeship is automatically declared an emergency, as it should be. the republicans control the senate last year, there were 12 emergencies nationwide. today, a year later, that number has almost tripled to 31. on nearly every metric under chairman grassley is failing dramatically, so all records of failure in this great body. failing the people of iowa and
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the nation but to the senator from iowa, senior senator from iowa, i stress, i plead, don't continue down this path. reject his record-setting obstruction and simply just do your job. the powerful chairman of the judiciary committee. >> mr. president? >> every senator stanton while others and whether elected, takes an oath of auction. that oath of office required by the constitution is our statement to not only the people we represent the to the nation that we will uphold and defend the constitution of the united states. article ii, section two of that constitution empowers the president and those powers include the president's power to fill vacancies on the supreme court. it's not permissive language, the word shall can be found in
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this paragraph. and it basically says that the president of the united states shall nominate and eyeing with advice and consent of this unit shall appoint judges of the supreme court. for the first time, the history of the united states of america that senate republicans are prepared to defy this clear statement of the united states constitution. what an ironing that filling the vacancy on the court by the untimely death of antonin scalia, filling the vacancy on the court of a man who prided himself throughout his judicial career of being what he termed an originalist, sticking to the strict letter of the law as spelled out in the constitution, that invalid the vacancy this and republicans have basically decided to reach a new low. in fact, to make history, a very sad way.
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icw supreme court liza vacant because of the death of justice scalia. the president has a constitutional obligation as i have read to name a nominee to fill the vacancy. and senate republicans now say they won't even hold a hearing on that nominee. if the president says a name, and he will, to the senate to fill that vacancy, they have said they will not hold a hearing. they will not schedule a vote and listen to this comment yesterday senator mcconnell so i will not even meet with that person. this is a new low. since the judiciary committee started holding hearings on supreme court nominees, a century ago, the senate of the united states of america has never, never denied a hearing to a pending supreme court nominee. it has never happened. but that's what senate republicans are saying they will do.
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this level of obstruction, but ignoring the clear language of the constitution is unprecedented, and it is dangerous. this goes beyond any single vote for any supreme court nominee. this is an abdication of the senate's responsibility under article ii, section two of the constitution to provide advice and consent on supreme court nominations which the president shall appoint. shall nominate. senate republicans want to keep the supreme court vacant for more than one year. they want this vacancy to continue for more than one year. that will encompass two terms of the supreme court. this is demeaning to the institution of the supreme court. unfair to millions of americans who rely on that court to resolve important legal questions. in the coming days the president will name a nominee as the constitution requires, senate republicans showed me their
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responsibility under the constitution. said republicans should do their job and give the president's nominee a fair hearing and a vote. yesterday the republican members of the senate judiciary committee sent a letter to the majority leader, and that's what they said. this committee will not hold hearings on any supreme court nominee until after our next president is 4 a.m. on january 20, 2017. why? did they take this unusual position in defiance of the constitution? quote the presidential election is well under way. americans aren't begun to cast their votes. the american people are present with an exceedingly rare opportunity to decide in a for real and concrete way the direction the court will take over the next generation come into quote. that argument is speeches. the american people of already voted. they voted to elect our
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president. barack obama, devoted to elect 100 senators who currently serve. president obama was elected to a four-year term, and 11 months remain. the american people voted for each of us to do our jobs for as long as we serve in office. by a margin of 5 million votes to be reckoned people have chosen the president. if they elect the president for three years or three your sentiments? no. they elected a president for four years. in this president's term continues until january 20, 2017. the republicans conveniently ignore the obvious. the well of the market people as expressed in that election and the election of barack obama as president of the united states and powers in a difficult to shouldn't to fill this appointment, this vacancy with an appointment. they didn't vote in that election process it on her hands for over a year while the
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supreme court twists in the wind and what republican senators pray every night that president donald trump will somehow give america a different supreme court nominee, not a single american incidentally has yet to cast a vote for president of the united states, not one, in the next election, despite a statement of the judiciary committee letter that says the other, otherwise. it is february of this year. the nomination conventions are scheduled for late july. the modern supreme court confirmation process has taken an average of 67 days. there is more than adequate time to hold a hearing on this nominee and get this done properly. all we need is for the senate republicans to do their job. yesterday on the simple i urge my republican colleagues not to duck a vote on the president's nominee. they can vote yes, they can vote no, but they shouldn't abdicate
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their constitutional responsibility for political advantage. i am amazed that my republican colleagues now say that not only want to duck the vote, they want to avoid even having a hearing on the nominee. and they are afraid to even meet with this nominate for fear that maybe if i think it's a good nominee. even more shocking, the republican leader said yesterday they would not even meet with the president nominate your i heard one of our colleagues in the senate last night on television when asked pointedly and directly to the president nominates someone from your state to the supreme court vacancy come are you saying you would not meet with that person ask my colleague on the other side of the aisle doctor the question. this is a stunning. remember, the president is obligated by article ii, section two of the constitution to send a nominee to the senate. that is the process the founding fathers established.
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that is the president's presides responsibility. how can a senate republicans refused to even meet with the person selected under the constitution process? how is that being faithful to terms of the constitution? how are the republicans upholding and defending this constitution by this evasive poster unprecedented action? sadly it appears the senate republicans have calculated that it's in their political best interest to keep the presidents nominate out of the spotlight. they're hoping that with this letter from the judiciary committee and bison yesterday they want nothing to do with it they will turn out the lights on this issue. that's not what's going to happen. this issue is going to be there and remembered, and it's going to be recalled on the floor of the senate repeatedly. they thought they could close down the government went senator cruz of texas sent here for i don't know how many hours reading dr. seuss while we shut down the government, and i thought people would senator cruz of shutting down the government.
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they didn't. and he is fine on the campaign trail a lot of people have remembered that. the american people are not going to forget what the senate republicans are trying to do with the supreme court. i served on the judiciary committee for the hearings confirmation votes of the eight sitting supreme court justice but let me state clearly that this senate is more than happy to meet with president supreme court nominees as a have all nominees, republicans and democrats alike. i don't consider that nominate on the merits as i've always tried to do in the past. yesterday said republicans also tried to deflect attention from on president obstruction by pointing to quote from some democrats and years ago but the record is clear that democrats have never, never block a supreme court nominee from having a hearing. republicans are breaking new ground with this abstraction is an. the american people deserve better. the bottom line, there's no
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excuse for the senate to fail to do its job. once the president has been his nominate the senate must give that nominate a fair hearing and a time to vote. if the constitution means anything to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, they understand what they're doing is unprecedented. it has never happened once in american history. we are no now finding the obstructionism of senate republicans reaching a new low. they are ignoring the clear wording of our constitution which they have swore to uphold and defend and they are obstructing in a way that we have never seen before in history of the united states. that is the reality, reality that will not be lost on the american people. mr. president, i yield the floor spent yesterday was my privilege to say a few words honor the memory of judge antonin scalia, known to his friends as nino. this dedication has served our
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country for decades. i'm glad others have said appropriate words honor and his memory and in many ways is to strengthen our constitutional self-government and our democracy. as we know the constitution gives the united states senate and equal role in deciding who eventually is to serve on the supreme court of the united states. president obama called me and other members of the judiciary committee yesterday saying he intends to exercise his constitutional authority, and i recognize his right to make that nomination. but not since 1932 house the united states the senate in a presidential election year confirmed a supreme court nominee to a vacancy that arose in a presidential election year. and it's necessary to go even further back, i believe it was to the initiation of grover cleveland in 1888 to find an
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election-year nominee who was nominated and confirmed under divided government such as we have now. so i found it very curious that some of our colleagues across the aisle are passionate in the criticism to withhold consent into revenue president had infected say this out of your choice not just confined to the 100 members of the united states senate and the president but to the american people. we are not saying, we are not proposing the possibility that a member of one party or another party would be the one to make that nominee. this isn't a partisan issue. this is about the people having a chance to express their views and raising the stakes and the visibility the present election to make the point that this isn't just about the next president who will serve four years, maybe eight years. this will likely be about who
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will serve the next 30 years on the supreme court of the united states. so i want to remind some of our colleagues some of the things they've said in the past which they were so roundly criticized as. people understand when there's differences of opinion, it's a little harder to understand how parker say when you take in just -- hypocrisy we've taken the opposite position when it suits your positions in the past from today. let me just be charitable and say maybe they have just forgotten. i just want to remind them for example, i'm a good leader senator reid, this is what senator reid of nevada, the democratic leader said on may 19, 2005. this is when president george w. bush was president of the united
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states. he said the duties of the said are set forth in the constitution. nowhere in that document does it say the senate has a duty to give a presidential appointee about. that's senator reid. i agree with him. that's exactly right. but that's not the position he appears to be taking today. the president has every right to nominate someone but the senate has the authority to grant consent or to withhold consent. and what i and other members of the judiciary committee on the republican side said yesterday in a letter to the majority leader is that we belief unanimously, all the republicans on the senate judiciary committee, that we should withhold consent.
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exercising a right and an authority record of by senator reid in 2005. you are not even going to have a hearing question are going to meet with the president's proposed nominate? that's right. for very good reason. because it's not about the personalities of that nominee. so it would be pretty misleading for us to take the same position that senator reid has taken and he said well, we're going to go to this elaborate dance of having courtesy meetings, maybe even having a hearing when we've already decided as senator reid acknowledged is the right of the senate not to bring up this presidents nominate for a vote. and not too preordained who the next nominee will be, whether it
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will be nominated by republican or democrat president of we don't know what the outcome of the presidential election is going to be but this is too important for the congress and for the senate to be stampeded into a rubberstamp of president obama's selection on the supreme court as these -- as he's heading out the door, a decision which could will have an impact on the balance of power on the supreme court for the next 30 years. ..ext democratic leader in the senate, senator well and i'm not through with my story. the next democratic leader of the senate, senator schumer, --i guess you could call in, the standard we the standard wakulla we call it the reid rule at the schumer standard.t george w. it rolls off the tongue better.
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so this is what senator schumer said. this is 18 months before president george w. bush was months left office.ng he said for the rest of the president's term, this is 18 months. we are only looking at roughly 10 or 11 months until president obama leaves but senator schumer said in 2007 we should reverse the presumption of confirmation. i frankly don't know what he's talking about. the constitution doesn't talkom about presumption of confirmation but it's pretty clear to me he wants ahe presumption that the nominee will not be confirmed for the next 18 months. senator schumer one of the democratic leaders i will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a supreme court nominee except in extraordinary circumstances. so what we are doing is what senator reid and senator schumet advocated back what was committed to serve their
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purposes way back when. they are now taking a different position because of course there just are different.ho they want to make sure president obama gets a chance to nominate and the senate confirmed president obama's nominee who will serve per perhaps the next quarter-century or more. the on the supreme court. but it's pretty clear the senatw is not bound to confirm a supreme court nominee or hold a vote. they call it the reid rule, the schumer standard in thee' benchmark. here's what the vice president of the united states said, joe biden back in 1992. he was chairman of the senate judiciary committee. he gave a long speech in which this is an excerpt. he said the senate judiciary over.
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consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over. action on the supreme court nomination must be put off untie the election campaign is over. that's the biden benchmark. the reid rule the schumer standard than the biden benchmark rate i read a statement from the vice president that he issued after he saw this ole miss clip and his statement has been made public. the he quite conveniently said this is not an accurate description of my views on the subject. is that t well, i think the words are pretty clear. i think we might have said is that these are no longer my views on the subject because of course you would like president obama to be able to make that nomination.
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so i want to reject this myth that many of our democratic colleagues are spreading that what we are doing here and now is somehow unprecedented. quite the contrary. what we are doing is what the democrats top leadership is advocating in the past. what do they think we are? do they think we are going to abide by a different set of rules and they themselves advocated? how ridiculous would that be?lis i cannot explain it to my constituents in texas. is when republicans are the majority republicans must comply with a different set of rules. the fact of the matter is the rulebook has been burned by the democrats and what we are operating under is the status ad
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quo that they advocated back in 1992 and 2005 and 2007. so mr. president the senate has every right under the constitution not to have a presd hearing and we shouldn't go through some motions pretending like we are whether this is really about the personality of whoever the president nominates. i have confidence that president will nominate somebody who he thinks is qualified to be on the supreme court. i would point out though that this nominee will not be confirmed and i don't know many leading lawyers, scholars andiln judges who would want to be nominated for the united states supreme court to a seat that president obama will never fill. so during this already very heated election year and the
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election is lardy underway,dy democrats are voting in democratic primaries and republicans are voting in republican primaries andnd caucuses. the election is lardy underway in the supreme court can cas function in the vast majority of cases with eight numbers and it frequently does anyway because most cases are not decided 5-4. most cases are decided on a consensus basis but let's say for six or so cases in which justice scalia was the deciding vote in the 5-4 case last year, if there is a deadlock most cases can simply be held over until the next year when there is a new justice or the court can come up with some other way to dispose of it as it sees fitw it frequently happens for example when justice kagan was solicitor general of united states and she was recused from and could not sit on cases that
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she handles as an advocate to the u.s. government when she got to the supreme court traits of the court operated with eight justices for a long time because of justice kagan's recusal.rcuio similarly when justice anthony kennedy served on the ninth circuit court of appeals once they got to the supreme court of the united states he couldn'tef sit on those cases and decide th once as the a circuit court judge and another is a circuit court judge, he recused which meant they were a justices to decide this case is. this is not extraordinary. this is not uncommon and it is not going to paralyze the supreme court of united states from doing its job. has all the tools it needs at its disposal to handle thesemi cases as it sees fit either to dismiss them as granted, to hols them over if they are truly deadlocked or to find some other perhaps more narrow basis upon
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which to decide the case which would command a five vote majority with eight members of the court. so mr. president i would like our colleagues to come out here andexplained this apparent contradiction and their position that they took in 2007, 2005 in 1992 because if they can't explain that, then it looks to me like this is pure hypocrisy, holding republicans who were in the majority to a different standard than they themselves are willing to embrace. like i said people may not understand a lot of the nitty-gritty details of this but they do have a strong sense of fairness and evenhandedness and they do smell hypocrisy and seet it when it's right before their eyes.
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i want to talk for a few minutes about judge scalia and then the vacancy on the court. there is no question that the supreme court has lost a strong and thoughtful voice. there's also no question that no matter where people on the court might have disagreed on issues and disagreed on the way to interpret the constitution justice scalia had they any capacity to get beyond that and will be missed by the courts both for his intellect and for his friendship. he was an associate judge on the court for almost 30 years. he was a true constitutional scholar both in his work before the court and on the court and really talk brought to the court a lifetime of understanding the law. he began his legal career in 1961 practicing in private practice. joined
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in 1967 he became part of the faculty of the university of virginia school of law. in 1972 he joined the nixon administration as general an counsel for the office of telecommunications policy and from that place he was appointet assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel. he brought great capacity to his work and finish that part of his career off being about professo2 again at the university of chicago and that's the point where he became a judge in 1982 when president reagan appointeda him to the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia, aa court that gets many the cases that wind up on the supreme 198, court and with a little more than four years on that court in 1986. president reagan nominated to him to serve as an associate justice. he was an unwavering defender of the constitution and brought to
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the debate as perhaps no one had a long time and perhaps no one will and a longtime sense of what the constitution was all about henry sense of what the constitution demands. c by that he meant what the constitution meant to the people that wrote it. there is a way to change the constitution if it country and the congress believe the constitution is outmoded by the people who looked at it thatd wrote it. as a process to do something about that in that process was immediately used when the bill of rights was added to the constitution and could still be used if people think the constitution no longer means sca what the people around it and the people that voted on it to approve it thought it means. justice scalia brought back to every argument, sometimes arguing against where his personal view might have been but arguing for what the
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constitution meant and what it was intended to mean. his opinions were well reasoned. they were logical, they were eloquent. they were often laced with humor and maybe a little sarcasm but they were grounded in the idea that judges that interpret the constitution the way it is written. his contribution to the study of law left a profound mark on the legal profession.n lawyers, particularly one young lawyers in many cases talked about the law differently than they did before judge scalia began to argue his view of what the constitution meant and what the court meant. he was a great legal mind. he was fun to be with. i personally will miss the opportunity asean i talked about books we were reading or books made the other one should read or maybe that the other should avoid reading because of the time required that he had a
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broad sense of wanting tot challenge his own views and be being willing to challenge other people's views and do that in a positive way by the way that he thought advanced thend constitution and what the constitution meant to the country. as i stand here today i'm sure many people all over america and people that the scalia's came into contact with continued to remember his family. our thoughts and prayers with his wife maureen, their nine children, there are dozens of grandchildren. i'm not sure if the numbers 36 or 39 but it's big enough that it's an impressive number and people had a chance to see, to be there are to read his sons eloquent handling of the funeral service in the eulogy, what aeat
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great legacy. that clearly shows that he and i maureen scalia are leaving to the country. i'm not a lawyer which is often the most popular thing i say so i don't want to pretend to be a lawyer talking about the law and the constitution but you really don't need to be a brilliantng o lawyer to understand the constitution or understand what judge scalia was going to be. as a history teacher, somebody had a chance as you did mr. president of the university president, first person in my family to graduate from college but i have those unbelievable opportunities because of where he lived. in the constitution there is no magic in the number of how many judges are sitting on the court at any given time. and in fact the constitution doesn't even suggest what the number should we and it's been different numbers over time.
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the number for some years has been nine but they're often note been nine judges sitting and even when 99 judges are sitting because of recusal, because up other reasons when judges leave, when judges retire, when judges resigned to do something else, there've often been -- have been nine judges there've often been a judges. there's often a court that could easily wind up in a 4-4 tie and in fact i think 15 times since world war ii the court has only had a judges. right after world war ii harryef truman who used the desk here before me, the desk i get to use when he was a member of the the senate, month after he became president he asked a judge robert jackson be the chief prosecutor at nuremberg and so
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justice jackson went to nuremberg and for the better part of a year and a half from may of 45 until october of 46 he wasn't sitting with the court, wasn't making decisions involving the court. he was the chief prosecutor at the nuremberg trials.d a thai court can do a lot of things. it can uphold the lower court decision. a thai court can decide a tieec rehear this case. also not unusual in the history of the country because you can be tied even if their nine judges and one of them for whatever reason decides they can't participate in that case. when that happens the court can do a number of things and well. this is an important decision and it's a decision in the to v shadow of the next election where nine months and a few days away from people getting a chance to vote in a lifetime
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appointment on the court is an important thing. judge scalia three decades appointed by ronald reagan served for a quarter of a century after ronald reagan left the white house, served for a decade after president reagan mo died. this is something worth thinking about in print we at this moment in history and in other moments in history when a vacancy has occurred in an election year it has often been the case that the decision is the american people ought to have a say who sits in that supreme court seat. that's what will happen this sta time. it's the best thing to happen this time. there is a lot at stake. the it was a 5-4 court on decision after decision with the court does on the 2nd amendment matters. what the court does on the first amendment matters.
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the first freedom in the first amendment, is freedom of religion. no other country was ever founded on principle that the right to pursue your conscience, the right to pursue your faith is a principle tenet of founding this government.ately it was a principle tenet in a revolution. more importantly it was immediately added to the constitution when there was some concern that maybe the constitution is clear enough about this fundamental principle. you know at a time when the obama administration is suing the little sisters of the poor because the little sisters of the poor don't want their health care plan to be a plan that includes things that are different than their faith believes, freedom of religion iw really important and that's one of the cases before the court right now. i don't know how the court will decide to determine it but i do
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know that there is a reason we should be concerned about freedom of religion, the right of conscience. president jefferson and writing a church that asked him about individual freedom said in a letter to that church while he was president, i think it was, it might have been late in his administrative -- administration. all the rights we have, the right of conscience is the one we should hold most dear and the american people need to be thinking about this. they determined the next president who is likely not just to fill this vacancy that likely to fill more than one vacancy during their time in office. mrs. clinton says if she is appoint anybody to the supreme court that won't reverse the freedom of speech case in citizens united. it sounds like to me the presidential candidates are willing to make the court a major issue in this campaign.
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voters should have the right to make the court a major issue in this campaign. freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the 2nd amendment, the 10th amendment says anything that the constitution doesn't say the federal government is supposed to do is left to the state and the closer you are to where problem is to solving thae problem the more likely you're going to get a commonsense tim solution. that's why that 10th amendment as they are and why it needs to be vigorously adhered to. these are important times. anytime we have an election in the country there is always a sense this may be the most important election we have ever had and they all are. they all are and particularly an election where the constitutional principles of government where executive overreach, where regulators who are unaccountable andup
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out-of-control are one of the big concerns in america today ie an important time to be thinking about the supreme court, an important time to be thinking about our responsibility ason citizens and the responsibility of the next president of the united states. this president has every constitutional obligation to nominate somebody to a vacancy on the supreme court. but there's a second obligation the constitution and that's the obligation of the senate tor confirm that nomination. the senate, i have a few that the answer to that question is e not this person, not right now because we are too close to making a big decision about the future of the country not to include this process of what happens in the supreme court in that process. i wish the process of democracyn well and the american people well is they think about these
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things in the senate well as we do the other work that the constitution requires us to do and i yield the floor. >> mr. president created it's been a busy day. i rise today to address the recent vacancy on the united states supreme court and urge my colleagues to grant swift passig consideration of the president's eventual nominee. make no mistake mr. presidentof the passing of justice antonin scalia came as a great shock. the justice scalia and i did not share a common view of the constitution or of the country i recognize that he was a man of great conviction and it should be said a man of great humor. my thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends, his the but mr. president we must now devote ourselves to the task of
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helping to select his successor. the constitution so beloved by justice scalia provides that the president shall quote or quote shall nominate and buy and when the advise and consent of the senate shall appoint judges of support and let us all remember that each and every senator serving in this body swore an oath to support that same constitution. it is our duty to move forward. we must fulfill our constitutional obligation to ensure that the highest court in the land has the full complement of justice. unfortunately it would seem that some of my colleagues on the other side of the isle do not agree, and they wasted no time e
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in making known their objections. less than an hour, less than an hour after the news of justice scalia's death became public the majority leader announced the senate would not take up the business of considering a replacement until after the presidential elections.ustice," quote the american people should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice he said. peopl the only problem with the majority leader's reasoning mr. president is the american people have spoken, twice. president barack obama was le elected and then reelected by a solid majority of the american people who correctly understood that elections have consequences not the least of which is when a vacancy occurs, the president of
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the united states has a constitutional responsibility to appoint a justice to the supreme court. to the constitution does not set a time limit on the president's ra ability to fulfill this duty nor by my reading a date after which the president is no longer to fulfill his duties as commander-in-chief or to exercise his authority to grant pardons or make treaties. my it merely states that the president shall hold office for a term of four years and by my count there are in the neighborhood of 11 months left.e if we were truly to subscribe to the majority leader's -- an
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branch it would yield an absurd result. are senators would become ineffective in the last year of their term. the 28 senators who are now in the midst of their re-election n campaigns and the six senators who are stepping down should b precluded from casting votes in committee or on the senate floor. 10 committee chairs and 19 subcommittee chairs should pass the gavel to a colleague who is not currently running for re-election are preparing for retirement. bill and seduction and indeed the cosponsorship of the bill should be limited as to those seniors who are not yet serving in the sixth year of their terms if the majority leader sincerely believes that the only way to ensure the voice of the american people is heard and to lop off last year of an elected
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official's term, just he will changes but i suspect it does not.m rather it seems to me that thele majority leader believes that the term of just one elected official in particular should be cut short which begs the question mr. president just how should it be cut? as i said, by my count approximately 11 months remained in barack obama's presidency,, 11., that's a considerable - comments sizable comet has passed. but i wouldn't call it fast. again there's a certain arbitrariness to settling on 11f months just shy of a full year. perhaps in order to simplifymona matters and entire year would bo
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preferable or maybe just six months, happy year.se it's a difficult decision. mr. president only the american people had a voice in selecting precisely how much time we should shave off of the president's term. of course now that i mention it there is a way to give the american people a voice in this decision. the majority leader could propose a constitutional amendment. it would have course have to pass both houses of congress with a two-thirds majority but that's not an insurmountable obstacle. the amendment would bypass the president which in this case would be very apt and be sent to the states for their ratification so the majority leader truly wants the voters to decide how best to proceed our founding document and provides a way forward.
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but mr. president suggesting that the senate should refuse te consider a nominee during an election year stands as a cynical affront to the constitutional system in the misrepresents our history.d - the senate has a long tradition of working to confirm supreme court justices in an election year. one need look no further than sitting associate justice anthony kennedy is supreme court nominee pointed by a republicane president and confirmed by a democratic senate in 1988. so whe office during an election year.e so when i hear one of my colleagues say that quote it's
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been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm a supreme court nominee during a presidential election year, i o know that's not true. observed i'm not the only one who knows this is not true. in fact checking publicationn politifact's quote should republican lawmakers refuse to begin the process of confirming a nomination it would be the first time in modern history and quote. scotusblog indisputable authority on all matters related to the court confirmed that the quote historical record does not reveal any instances in over a century the senate failing to confirm a nominee and a presidential year because of the impending elections. the fact of the matter is that there is a bipartisan tradition,
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a bipartisan tradition of giving full and fair consideration to the supreme court nominee., since the judiciary committee began to hold hearings in 1916, every pending supreme court hape nominee has received a hearing n and you know what happened to those nine nominees? they were confirmed within 11 days of being nominated. commit in 2001 during the first demonstration of presidentgues g george w. bush then judiciary committee chairman leahy and ranking member hatch sent a letter to their senate colleagues making clear that the committee would continue its long-standing bipartisan process and practice of moving pending supreme court nominees to the
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full senate even when the nominees were opposed by ay majority of the committee. but regrettably my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are leaving that long tradition ma behind. yesterday every republican member of the senate judiciary judiciary committee sent a letter to the majority leader vowing to deny a hearing to the president's eventual nominee. ne this committee they wrote will not hold hearings on any supreme court nominee until after our next president is sworn in on january 20, 2017. mr. president this marks an historic dereliction of the senate's duty and a radical departure not just from the
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committee's past traditions but from its current practices. i know that my good friend chairman grassley cares a great deal about maintaining the legacy of the judiciary committee and the propriety of its proceedings third under his leadership we have seen the and i party and move consensus bipartisan proposals. the i hope that chairman grassley would confirm our next supreme court justice with the same sense of fairness and integrity, i still hope that. s but i was disappointed to learn that yesterday chairman grassley brought together republican leaders were they decided behind closed doors to refuse consideration of the nominee.
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the decision to foreclose even holding a hearing for a nominee to our nation's highest court is shameful. and i suspect that the americans people share that deal.cy the supreme court is an essential pillar of our bench democracy. the women and men who sit on that bench make decisions that touch the lives of every singlet american regardless of party or political persuasion.ld the c now the senate must do the same. we must honor our solemn duty to uphold the constitution and to ensure that americans seeking justice are able to have their day in court before a full bench
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of nine justices. duty i urge my colleagues to reject the impulse to put politics before our sworn duty to uphold the constitution. i think you mr. chair and yields to my colleague from utah. >> mr. president. spent the senator from utah.exty >> mr. president supreme court justice antonin scalia was an extraordinary man. his contributions to thisch country and to the american people. he will be -- he faithfully served from the bench are so prodigious that it will take generations to fully comprehend our debt to him are dead of great gratitude. bles his untimely recent death is a a
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tragedy and his legacy is that blessing to friends and freedom throughout this country and a everywhere. justice scalia was alerted student of history and a man who relished a spirited lively s debate so it's fitting that hiso passing his spirited conversation about the constitutional powers governing the appointment of supreme court justices and the historical record of supreme court vacancies that happened to open up during a presidential election year. this debate gives the american people and gives their elected representatives in the senate a unique opportunity to discuss our nations founding charter and our nations history at a time when our collective choices have very real consequences so it's important that this debate proceed with candor, with mutual
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respect and deference to the facts. in that spirit i would like to address and correct a few of the most pernicious errors and inaccuracies, fallacies and fabrications that we have heard from some of the loudest voices in this debate over the last few days. from the outset i'd maintain that the senate should withhold its consent of a supreme court nomination to fill justice scalia seed into ways to hold any hearings on a supreme court nominee until the next president whether it's a republican or a democrat is elected and sworn in. senat this position is shared by all of my republican colleagues on the senate judiciary committee consistent with the senate's powers in the appointment of federal judges and supported by historical precedent. in response to some of my colleagues on the other side ofe the aisle and many in the media have resorted to all manner ofcc
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counter arguments ranging from me to start we can constitutionally inaccurate to the absurd and in many cases the claims made by some of my colleagues today flatly contradict their own statements from the past. that ther i believe the plain meaning of the constitution and the historical record or sufficiently clear to stand on their own as evidence that there is absolutely nothing unprecedented and absolutely's nothing improper about the senate choosing to withhold its consent of a president's nominee to the supreme court. so i would like to focus on one particular allegation offered by some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.them, mh with the letter and the spirit their own words standing against them many of turned to fear-mongering and a last-ditch effort to win the debate could they claim that leaving justice
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scalia seats vacant until the next president nominates a replacement would somehow inflict a profound institutional injury of the supreme court by disrupting the resolution of this terms cases before the court a term including in court cases on abortion, immigration religious liberty and mandatory union dues among others and staring at it and blessed gridlock with an even late with a justices on the bench and leaving a short staff for anhe precedented and potentially prolongs period. here the doomsayers are and we ground indeed. let's look at each of these claims in turn.ill first it is true as many have claimed that the business of the supreme court -- first we have to address the question of whether as many claim thema
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business of the supreme court will somehow be obstructed or otherwise disrupted if the a senate withhold its consent oft president obama's nominee.ation i maintain that this is not true , absolutely not true. in recent history in effect since the nomination of justice scalia to the supreme court in 1986 it has taken more than 70 days on average for the senate to confirm or reject a nominee after the nominee has been formerly submitted by the presence of the senate for its senate for his goodbyes and consent. more than 70 days on average in many cases it's taken far longer for the senate to either grant or withhold its consent. it took this body 108 days to reject judge robert bork and 99 days to confirm justice clarence thomas. presenting modern historic n average would hold true for any future nominee even if president
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obama were to announce in referrer nominee to the senate today for our biasing consent process would carry through until at least early may. but significantly the supreme court stopped hearing cases in d april which means that even if president obama were to announce a nominee today right now and even if the senate were to confirm that nominee in the period of time consistent with historical standards that individuals must be seeded in time to hear or rule on any of the cases that are currently in the courts document. on any of the cases before the court in this term. in other words it would be historically anomalous for any of the cases directly pending before the court to be decided this term by a nine-member supreme court no matter what the senate chooses to do regarding any future nominee. let's put this in perspective.
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in this scenario, the scenario endorsed by senate democrats it is highly unlikely that the nominee to fill justice scalia seed would hear oral arguments until the beginning of october could literally just a few weeks, just weeks before the presidential election. this proves the main argument made by president obama and his allies is based on the myth and they are telling the senators to withhold consent of the nominee that would tonight president obama a justice who will serve during his final year in the white house.rt but in reality it is unlikely that the president's nominee will join the supreme court until the country is weeks away from choosing president obama'sn replacement. i think most americans recognize the problem of a president having the ability to reshape the supreme court in his image on his way out of office and
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that is exactly why the senate is choosing to withhold the events in this case. this is the right of course not because of anything the senate does or does not do and not because of anything the president does or does not do.ai it is simply a function of the unfortunate timing of justice scalia's death.se claims to the contrary are flatly contradicted via an empirical analysis of the court's history. second the senate's decision to withhold consent will not leaden to an intractable impasse for hopeless gridlock even if the eventual and appointee were to miss the entirety of the next term which starts in october 2016 and runs to the end of june, 2017. in each of its previous fivets terms in the current court has
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decided to only 16 cases on average were 23% of its caseload by a 5-4 majority. justice scalia was one of the five justices in the majority in those 5-4 cases. only about half of the time on c average. that means that means the vacancy left by justice scalia would result in about eight cases out of dozens being the decided by a 4-4 split. in fact in the last term served by justice scalia the last complete term he was in the majority in only six of those 5-4 cases and the year before that the preceding term justice scalia is second to last, he was in the majority in only five of the cases decided by a 5-4 majority. what does this mean? it means it's likely the effect of this absence on the final vote and ultimate disposition oa
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cases will be lower than evena' the average suggests. instead of a cases beans decided by a 4-4 split in justice scalia's absence is likely to be closer to five or six if it has been in the last two full terms of justice scalia service on the court. and let's not forget what should be obvious. this guide does not fall when a 4-4 split occurs on the supreme court. rather this is no lower court is left standing and if there is the prospect of a 4-4 split on a particularly selling it matter the court always has the option of scheduling or rescheduling the hearing or later time when the court will have all nine justices hearing the case. from the mr. president vacancy on the court blasting through the presidential election season
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will have no greater effect on the court's ability to decide cases than any number of physicists in the past where the court has had to decide matters with a justices are even fewer. as recently as the court's 2010/2011 term the court had to decide over 30 cases with eight or fewer justices, almost entirely as a result of acute -- recusal's. cases wit likewise following the retirement of justice powell in 1987 the court had to act on 80 cases with eight or fewer. this was a result of the democratic opposition to judge pork in the late february compromise with anthony kennedy coupled with dozens of recusal's by kennedy and other justices later in that term. the october term of 1945 the court function as an eight-member body while justice
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robert jackson was serving as a prosecutor in nuremberg acting on a full-term caseload withouty him. tellingly went justice jackson expressed concern about missing so many cases have actually considered returning early for that reason justice felix frankfurter wrote to encourage justice jackson to stay on as prosecutor stating that his quo. absence was not quote sacrificing a single interest of importance." now compare to today the court had a larger workload and issued many more opinions during that term in which a justice jacksonl was absent. similar duration as jackson's full-term sabbatical would be even less damaging to the courts functioning than the absence of justice jackson and to reiterate to not sacrifice a single interest of importance.
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the next president's future keny nominee is unlikely to miss as many cases as justices kennedy or jackson missed. these are the facts mr. president. they can't be ignored nor can they be wished away. if we are going to have a pro serious honest debate about the vacancy left by justice scalia'. tragic passing we must proceed on the basis of these facts. thank you mr. president and i yield the floor. >> the senator from new hampshire. >> mr. president since the beginning of earnings in the united states senate haspr maintained an important bipartisan tradition of giving fair consideration to supreme court nominees. article ii, section 2 of thet constitution is unambiguouss about the respective duties and responsibilities of the i
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president of the senate when there is a supreme court vacancy the founders did not intend these roles to be optional or something to be disregarded. article ii also states that the president shall hold his office during the term of four years, not three years or three years and one month, but for full years and the constitution plainly says that it is the president's duty to nominate a supreme court justice and it is the senate's duty to provide advice and consent on that nomination. throughout our history senators have done their constitutionalf duty by considering and confirming supreme court justices in the final year of a presidency. in fact, the senate has done that 14 times. most recently in 1988, when the
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senate confirmed justice anthonn kennedy who is president reagan's nominee to the supreme court, he sensed that nomination over to the democratic majority in this latte and almost 28 years ago exactly to the day in february of 1988, the democratic majority in the senate confirmed republican president ronald reagan justice judicial nomination anthony kennedy unanimously 97-0. they didn't debate whether with a presidential year and whethera they could add to. it was in the middle of a hard-fought election. it was not about fair what the outcome of that election was going to be and since 1975 the average length of time from
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nomination to a confirmation vote for supreme court, that's the average length of time. sometimes it's taken longer and sometimes it's been shorter but since 1975 the average length of time has been 67 days because our predecessors in the senate recognize how important it is for the supreme court to be fully functioning. unfortunately this week we are seeing this bipartisan tradition regarding a supreme court being put at risk. yesterday we heard the majority leader say if the president nominates a person to the supreme court, any person no matter how superbly qualified, that there will be no hearings and no votes. we have even heard some senators say that they would refuse to meet with any potential nomineed
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i think that's very unfortunate. it's unfortunate for a number of reasons. probably first and foremost because the people of the united states expect us to work together here in washington to do the job of the country, to do the jobs that we are elected to do. also because the current president's term ends in januarh of 2017. that's more than 300 days from now and during that time the supreme court will hear many important cases but if the majority in the senate has their way the court will do so without a full roster of justices. and as three n. of the constitutional accountability center has had in that quote the consequences of the supremeve court being without all nine justices for so long can hardly be overstated. most significant a long-standint vacancy would compromise theab
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court's ability to perform one of its most important functions, that is establishing a uniform will rule of law for the entire country end quote. every senator here has sworn tot support and defend the constitution. that's the oath that we have made and are all stuffed and say uphold the constitution most of the time or only when it's not a presidential election year or only when it's convenient for us or on the wind we like the ideology is being presented to us. our oath to uphold and defends the constitution every day no matter what the issue is that comes before us. the american people expect us to senators to be faithful to our oath. they also expect us to do our job regardless of whether it's a
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presidential election. i believe we should respect our oath of office. i believe we should do the job that we were centered to do by the american people. i believe we should follow the constitution. as former justice sandra day o'connor said last week, and i quote again, i think we need somebody on the supreme court now to do the job and let's get on with it. mr. president i say let's get on with it and i yield the floor.
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at "politico".com the politics of a supreme court nominee joining us from capitol hill burgess everett two covers congress for "politico." thank you for being with us. >> guest: thanks for having me steve. >> host: let's talk about the race. president obama tend to prefer the nominee. we have heard from senator puppet leaders and is a likely come up in use among the republican candidates. what can we expect? >> guest: this is a rare issue where i don't think we will see much division at all among the presidential candidates especially the top three donald trump marco rubio and ted cruz. in moments after justice scalia step they were taking the same position that most republicans in the senate have taken which is that the next president should choose his nominate and ted cruz has been talking about this for a long time how he would put up a constitutional conservative and how he wants to
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change the balance of the court back to where he thinks it should be. you know i would say i haven't heard a ton from john kasich on this and he's obviously a longshot in the nomination to the somebody might here take a little bit less of a hard line on this. this is really something that unites the republican party so i don't expect this to be an issue of division although you never know with these guys at this point in the campaign. >> i want to talk about senate republicans but i want to talk about we have heard from the present. but you hearing from congressional democrats? >> they are trying to plot out exactly how they're going to handle this. you know they are kind of being a little complicit in including the name of brian sandoval who is a nevada governor, republican of very moderate republican governor and the idea there is to kind of essentially make the republicans look unreasonable by
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rejecting on any basically heard that this afternoon. republican senators like john korn and the senate majority whip said it doesn't matter who they nominate sandoval or republican or anyone else that's what it taken this hard line before there's a nominee so they can stick by it. democrats are trying to figure out how they can make this painful republicans, how they can make republicans change their mind which i don't think will happen but they say they can do so the idea is they don't want to overreach and block everything in the senate. they think that's the republicans want them to do to muddy the obstructive title between democrats and republicans said democrats are trying to feel out what the best way forward is. they think the idea is to keep the tension on the republicans position make it seem unreasonable and hope they willo back down.stead >> host: you talk to two republican senators, purple states, swing states and in a presidential election year and they are in an election battle of their own. they are saying what? >> they won't meet with the
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nominate which is what mitch mcconnell said yesterday and this is becoming an increasingly popular position among republicans. the idea is not to crack the door open at all. after we posted that story i talked to senator wirthlin tuesday republican conservative but he's up for re-election and he is a tough race in the set of probably wasn't, the nominee should find better things to do with their time so we did see a couple of republicans break with the position. generally it seems vulnerable incumbents are getting entrenched around mcconnell's position which is essentially total obstruction, no meetings, no votes, no hearings come nothing and they want to choke the oxygen off the subject. backward asus but the president also senator sanders and the secretary clinton in their bid for the democratic nomination?
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>> guest: one thing that's interesting about this is i think it will cut down on the narrative of ticket splitters and the idea has been some of the senators running for election supported president obama employs two support hillary clinton or bernie sanders someone who will vote democratic is a little bit more likely because now the senate elections are so closely tied. the white house selections some wanted liberal supreme court justice and voting for presidential candidate. it seems like if you were following that logic vote for a democrat senate so it's interesting how tightly linked the presidential race in the senate races are at this point. there are basically two cogs for the supreme court nominee and they interact in a way that no other part of government do. >> host: ernest everett is covering all of this for
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"politico." he's covering capitol hill. thank you for your time. >> guest: thank you so much, steve. later a discussion on the closing of the guantánamo bay detention center. >> next a house hearing on the federal response to the zika virus and efforts to prevent further transmission. and oversight of later -- heard from florida's

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